June 1, 2010, 3:01 p.m.
International Crisis Group's latest Asia briefing looks at the upcoming elections in Myanmar:
There has rightly been much international criticism of the new constitution and of the fact that the elections will not be inclusive, but the political and generational shift that they will bring about may represent the best opportunity in a generation to influence the future direction of the country.
It is clear that the top leaders, Generals Than Shwe and Maung Aye, will step aside after the elections, making way for a younger generation of military officers. Although the old guard may continue to wield significant influence behind the scenes, the reins of power will be in new hands, and the new political structures make it unlikely that any single individual will be able to dominate decision-making in the way that Than Shwe has in recent years. Myanmar has been under military rule for half a century. The attempts by the regime to introduce a more civilian and plural character to governance, however tentative and flawed they may be, should be critiqued but not dismissed.